Happy 4th of July! This is one of my favorite holidays of the whole year. But, on this Independence Day, I've never been more worried about my country. And I lived through the climax of the Cold War, the recession of the 70s, 9/11 and other serious problems.
Today, I'm more worried about the moral, emotional, and spiritual state of the country. Sure, we face a lot of problems. But my greatest fears are that there is such a contentious, poisonous atmosphere that we've lost the feeling of what it means to be Americans. Not conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, or any other group--but Americans. In my grandmother's time, that meant something. As recently as my youth, and young adulthood, it still meant something.
So, I do worry about all the issues we argue about today. But I worry most of all about the nature of our arguments. What happens if one side finally wins--only to realize there is no country left, only factions and fragments?
Parts of the country are literally on fire today. We owe tremendous amounts of money. Millions of our fellows out of work. Others suffer from financial and health problems. And, above it all, we are suspicious and mistrustful of one another.
If ever we needed God's blessings, the time is now. So, this 4th of July, I express my gratitude to God for this amazing country, and humbly pray that He will continue to bless America.
Today, as my personal celebration I offer two songs and pray that they may be so.
If you want to read about the backstory behind this song, click here.
One of my favorite songs is America the Beautiful. I love that it is aspirational, not only celebratory. It acknowledges and asks for God's assistance in improving: "May God thy gold refine til all success be nobleness and every gain divine." I love this song, and I love Ray Charles singing it! I love what that means--the song and the larger message of the singer.
"And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea."
Happy 4th of July, brothers and sisters!
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